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Allen & Overy Opens Two California Offices, Raids White & Case

Aug. 9, 2021, 7:20 PM

Allen & Overy is again expanding its U.S. footprint, opening two new offices in California and hiring eight partners from White & Case’s technology practice.

The new offices, in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, come five months after the U.K.-founded firm launched its first California outpost in Los Angeles. A&O’s new partners include Noah Brumfield, a partner in White & Case’s Silicon Valley office whose addition was announced Monday.

“We are trying to accomplish several things, including having a bigger presence in the United States, but predominantly our move today is infusing our tech capability with a center of excellence in the center of the tech world, which is Silicon Valley,” A&O senior partner Tim House told Bloomberg Law in an interview.

“We’re committed to growing the firm’s technology focused transactions and disputes practices and bringing this team’s expertise to our clients globally, whether they are innovator companies or consumers of technology,” he noted.

A&O, a 550-partner firm registered in England and Wales, announced in March that it was opening a Los Angeles office after hiring a group of partners, associates, and counsel from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s project finance and renewables practice.

The lateral hires this month, from White & Case, will add to the firm experienced lawyers in technology disputes and transactions, and background in patent litigation, intellectual property, and tech-focused transactions, including fintech deals, A&O said.

“All businesses are technology businesses now. Our clients have been asking us when we will have a presence in Silicon Valley and now we are adding an offering that we will grow to serve as the firm’s center of excellence in a range of technology areas,” said Wim Dejonghe, a senior partner on A&O’s leadership team.

“This is truly a top team and integrating them into our existing practice will be game-changing for us, not just in the U.S., but in our capabilities to serve clients in the key markets of Europe and Asia as well.”

The new partners include Shamita Etienne-Cummings, Bijal Vakil, David Tennant, Eric Lancaster, Adam Chernichaw, Daren Orzechowski, and Alex Touma. Vikil and Orzechowski are joining as global co-heads of the firm’s technology practice.

Some of the newly hired partners will be located in Silicon Valley, and others in Washington, D.C. and New York, House said.

One of the reasons for the firm’s move today, House said, was a concentration on the Trans Pacific region, and hires such as Brumfield, he noted,”have a strong Asia focus, especially in technology and in Taiwan.”

The additions come as another U.K. “Magic Circle” firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, is also expanding its footprint stateside, with a particular emphasis on Silicon Valley and serving clients in Asia. Freshfields has continued to grow its Northern California office since launching it with seven partners last year.

House said A&O’s clients have welcomed the expansion. In May 2021, the firm advised Tokopedia, Indonesia’ leading e-commerce marketplace, on a $18 billion merger with Gojek, the Indonesian based ride-hailing and payments giant.

“The point of our move today,” House told Bloomberg Law, “is that every client is in need of assistance and sophisticated advice on its digitization strategy. There is no client that isn’t affected by developments. So we think of it both as serving the tech clients but serving all clients with their tech needs.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Olson in Washington at egolson1@gmail.com

To contact the editor on this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com